Fat Possum Records' business model would give second thoughts to anyone who thinks the proverbial deal with the devil is as much a musty museum piece as Muddy Waters' hat or Elmore James's slide. As the crotchety old folks like R.L. Burnside, T-Model Ford and CeDell Davis who originally gave the Oxford, Mississippi, label its grade-A reputation began to discover what the afterlife had in store, Fat Possum's ranks were replenished as if by some strange (black) magic. New faces like the Black Keys, Heartless Bastards and Gil Mantera's Party Dream were younger, whiter and often not even Southern, but they all carried a whiff of that same mojo that chilled your blood the first time Burnside's guitar came spiraling out of your speakers. Dax Riggs may have beaten them all. A founder of revered swamp-metal band Acid Bath, which came to an abrupt end when one member and his parents were killed by a drunk driver, Riggs more recently was the creative engine behind Deadboy & the Elephantmen, whose unfortunate similarity to the White Stripes (boy guitarist, girl drummer, loud as fuck) inevitably obscured the fact that their songs were just as good, if not better. Originally conceived as the third Deadboy album, Riggs's 2007 solo debut We Sing of Only Blood or Love — things happen, you know — glows with the "Radiation Blues" and the grim assurance that "Living Is Suicide" as Riggs rushes to meet his fate head-on, guided by an unseen hand that, five'll get you ten, does not come from up above.
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